Synthesis and turnover of phosphoinositides are tightly regulated processes mediated by a set of recently identified kinases and phosphatases. We analyzed the primary role of the phosphoinositide phosphatase Sac1p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae with the use of a temperature-sensitive allele of this gene. Our analysis demonstrates that inactivation of Sac1p leads to a specific increase in the cellular levels of phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PtdIns(4)P), accompanied by changes in vacuole morphology and an accumulation of lipid droplets. We have found that the majority of Sac1p localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum, and this localization is crucial for the efficient turnover of PtdIns(4)P. By generating double mutant strains harboring the sac1(ts) allele and one of two temperature-sensitive PtdIns 4-kinase genes, stt4(ts) or pik1(ts), we have demonstrated that the bulk of PtdIns(4)P that accumulates in sac1 mutant cells is generated by the Stt4 PtdIns 4-kinase, and not Pik1p. Consistent with these findings, inactivation of Sac1p partially rescued defects associated with stt4(ts) but not pik1(ts) mutant cells. To analyze potential overlapping functions between Sac1p and other homologous phosphoinositide phosphatases, sac1(ts) mutant cells lacking various other synaptojanin-like phosphatases were generated. These double and triple mutants exacerbated the accumulation of intracellular phosphoinositides and caused defects in Golgi function. Together, our results demonstrate that Sac1p primarily turns over Stt4p-generated PtdIns(4)P and that the membrane localization of Sac1p is important for its function in vivo. Regulation of this PtdIns(4)P pool appears to be crucial for the maintenance of vacuole morphology, regulation of lipid storage, Golgi function, and actin cytoskeleton organization.
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